In regard to the shelter controversy:
When I was too young to remember, we began spending every Christmas sharing dinner at the Eagles Hall with a community of people, my Dad playing Santa and us kids dressed up as elves as we got older. I had no idea this was anything other than a group of folks who spent Christmas together every year. Labels like “less fortunate,” “homeless,” or “working poor” never came up. We were just people making dinner for each other, sharing a laugh and sitting across a holiday table telling stories. It was just so normal. I had no idea that there was any controversy to be had.
Later, as I grew older, I would spend hours after school at the Crisis Centre and the Women’s Centre where my parents worked. I met people who struggled with mental health issues, addictions and homelessness. Although I recognized there were things that made us different, I never assumed they were dangerous or couldn’t offer me the same friendship I could offer them.
Of course, there are reasons to be concerned about children in these scenarios and I won’t pretend that isn’t true. My parents taught me about boundaries and who was safe and who wasn’t. I was always supervised when I was smaller and by the time I was a teen, I probably had better understanding of safety in community than many of my peers.
In my 20s I helped start and then managed The Refuge men’s shelter and my parents were part of the drop-in program at Street Angels. My own children had the same opportunity to meet people from all kinds of situations and come to see how normal it is to simply love. Yes, messy and sometimes complicated, but absolutely possible and even common to love well.
We moved to Kelowna almost a decade ago. Immediately there was an opportunity for my son to cook a meal for the homeless once a week alongside a gentleman who is in recovery. They struck up a beautiful friendship and my son found a mentor in him. During that very same time, I found myself volunteering in situations where I was spending time with some of the most comfortable residents of this wealthy city. I learned something incredibly important; everyone puts their jeans on one leg at a time.
Whether living on the hill in a mansion, rough on the street downtown, or anywhere in between, we are the same. We need love and dignity. We manage and are affected by the expectations of others, the hurts we have received and the harm we have caused ourselves. Most importantly, shame crushes us all. Shame and rejection are two of the most demotivating, discouraging and damaging forces on earth. Healing and hope need dignity and compassion.
I am not naïve. I know that this is not a simple issue and it comes with risks. I don’t blame you for wanting to protect your children. Let me end this letter with two statements for the sake of your children. First, the research and experience of other communities shows that your children will be safer if the shelter is as close as possible to the services provided. Second, as a child who grew up “exposed” to such issues and as a mother of teens and adults who did the same, we feel it has enriched our lives and our network of community.
With much affection for our hometown; Sarah Marriott
Get the shelter done
Seems Cranbrook is not ready to commit to a temporary homeless shelter. Although the proposed facility and BC Housing support are in place, there is great reticence at rezoning the potential location to make it happen.
Fortunately, for us lucky ones, the zoning issue can be kicked down the road to delay further action on the shelter decision indefinitely. We can’t really take a chance on helping folks that have now or may incur future unsavory difficulties.
Cranbrook has been quite supportive of other ventures and needs that can be supported and solved with volunteerism or cash donations. But we hesitate here because of fear of the unknown.
These people are in dire need and we should jump in to help. After all, it would be a temporary venture, and if it does not work out an alternative location could be found in the Community Forest where those with special needs and support will be “out of sight-out of mind.” We do not want these people with special needs on display, for it might corrupt our youth and remind us daily of our fortunate circumstances (with a sense of guilt).
I say we should go for it and get it done. Those in need will appreciate that, and we will also unless we are too small-minded to see the benefits for all of us. It seems a worthwhile endeavor to help others in need and we should not be too particular about judging those needs.
It’s a shame to have folks wandering around town, not sure of where they will sleep or eat from day-to-day. There, but for our fortunate circumstances, go we.
Jack Loeppky; Cranbrook
A response to MP Morrison on the Keystone XL permit cancellation
If MP Rob Morrison thinks President Biden’s cancellation the Keystone XL pipeline permit is ‘devastating news’, I suggest he take a good long look at the Paris agreement, the latest IPCC report, and the other thousands of studies which unequivocally state that we need to the slash our carbon emissions immediately if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Pipelines designed to encourage the production of oil from the Alberta tar sands, oil that is amongst the most polluting in the world, just cannot be not part of our plan, not if we want a decent future for ourselves and our children.
We don’t, as Mr. Morrison states, need a tax base from tar sands oil to build a green economy, because we cannot afford to make the mess we’re in any bigger than it already is. What we really need is for you and me and everyone else to roll up our sleeves, tighten our belts and without complaining, without making excuses, do what scientists keep telling us so urgently needs to be done: stop taking fossil fuels out of the ground, chucking them into the atmosphere and messing with our climate.
So I ask you, look around at our communities, the beautiful environment that surrounds us, the good life we have, and ask yourself, what could be worth risking this? Not money, surely. Jobs matter, of course they do, but some things matter more.
There are many ways to make a living, many ways to create jobs. What we need is government policies that the give Canadians in Alberta and elsewhere the training they need to transition out of fossil fuels and into good jobs in the sustainable industries of the future, not policies throwing money down pipelines along a dead end road.
Ruth Kamnitzer; Kimberley
The progressive faction
As a Christian, I have followed Yme’s articles for many years with great interest. I have not always agreed with his modernist views on my faith, but have always respected these views as our right to disagree, but when he now moves into the purely political realm, he is fair game.
I am an unapologetic conversative, both politically and socially and must take exception to his bias rhetoric . His attack on Mr. Ford and in particular Mr. O’Toole is completely unfounded. There is absolutely nothing in Mr. O’Toole’s background that would indicate he is nothing else but a solid, genuine, well meaning and intentioned leader. But he is a conservative, so he must have evil intentions, right?
Further on in the article he goes on and on about hyberbole, stereotype them, etc., etc., but it’s too bad he doesn’t follow his own advice as that is exactly what he is doing to Mr. O’Toole.
This type of reaction is very typical of the so called Progressive Movement ( I call it the destructive movement), where anyone who expresses conservative views is automatically accused of being racists, misogynistic, etc., and is immediately jumped on by our left wing media. They won’t let it go, therefore that individual is forever left with this unfortunate, unfounded bias hanging over them.
This is totally unjust and unfair. As a conservative person, I can honestly say, I am probably the least racist person you would ever meet, but I am tired of being portrayed otherwise.
Why don’t the so called progressive/destructive bunch like Yme ever find fault for the actions of the part-time drama teacher who is now our PM? He is the only PM that has ever been found in violation of conflict of interest policies of the government, not once, but three times! Why is he been given a free pass on this by the progressive/destructive bunch like Yme? Oh, I guess in this new age outlook, it doesn’t really matter if you have any ethics as long as you spew all the progressive/destructive stuff, right?
The hyperbole by the progressive/destructive faction in our society is creating division among Canadians and Yme should know better than to not see this.
Neil Matheson; Cranbrook